Auburn Astronomical Society E-Newsletter
November, 2006

In this Issue

November Events Upcoming Events
Whatís Up? Magazine Subscriptions
Member News Deep South Regional Star Gaze, 2006 
AAS Star Parties Space News
On the Tube Loaner Scopes

November Events

This monthís meeting will be on Friday, November 3, at 8:00PM in room 215 of the Aerospace Engineering Building.   This will be a home football weekend parking may be a problem.  Be prepared to walk several blocks.

Riders from the Montgomery area are welcome to meet at the home of Russell Whigham, 518 Seminole Dr., and carpool over to Auburn.  Plan to be ready to leave for Auburn at 7:00PM. 

Our dark-sky star party this month will be on Saturday, November 18, at Cliff Hillís farm, clouds permitting of course. 

Upcoming Events

Whatís Up?

Comet Swan has made a recent outburst and reached magnitude 4.5.  This would be an easy binocular object from suburban areas, were it not for our waxing Moon.   Updated finder charts are on the Heavens-Above site. 

Scott Thompson's image of Comet SWAN
Canon 20D with AstroPhysics /f9 Prime Focus / 

ISO 200 / 8 Minutes / 5 images stacked

Transit of Mercury:  See if you can take off from work on Wednesday afternoon, November 8 to witness a transit of Mercury. 
First contact will be at about 01:12PM CST in Montgomery.  The transit will still be in progress at sunset.  Be sure to use normal solar observing safety precautions for this event!

    Magazine Subscriptions
AAS treasurer, John Zachry writes:
Would you please remind everyone once again that Club subscriptions payments for Astronomy and Sky & Telescope magazines are due. They wanted club subscriptions in by October 15th but I will wait until after our November meeting to send in our final club list for 2007.  I will of course send in club subscriptions at any time during the year (feel free to ask) but I would appreciate it if most members would help me out this year. If checks are going to be late just send me an e-mail and I will add your name to my list and collect payment later. Club subscriptions for Astronomy magazine is $ 34.00 (regular price $ 42.95) for 1 year or $ 60.00 for 2 years. Sky & Telescope is $ 32.95 (regular price $ 42.95) for 1 year. Make checks payable to Auburn Astronomical Society. Only members of Auburn Astronomical Society are entitled to club subscription rates. If you are unable to attend our November meeting, mail checks to:

Auburn Astronomical Society
c/o John B. Zachry
501 Summerfield Road
West Point, GA 31833

Thanks, John

Member News

From Jim McLaughlin

You may already be aware of this but my nurse at the office showed me a copy of the Wetumpka newspaper wherein is detailed some life history of one George Smoot of COBE fame and newly minted Nobel laureate. Seems his grandfather was a Wetumpka lawyer and George spent some childhood years there and the article had quotes from some locals who remember him as a childhood playmate. There's no mention of him being noted for having a VERY far-away look in his eye but we can be confident that his Elmore County experiences did much to broaden his cosmic perspectives;-) Small world we live in, huh; really just a speck when you get right down to it.....


Memberís in the News

Rick Evans was featured in the Montgomery Advertiser on Saturday, October 14 , in the Real People @ Work column.  Also singled out for special recognition in the community throughout the month were: Dorn Majure, Rick Fanning, and Taylor Jernigan.  It great to be in such good company.

Deep South Regional Star Gaze
By Eddie Kirkland

This yearís DSSRG is the second year that it has been held at the new location, Camp Ruth Lee near Clinton, Louisiana.  I arrived there on Wednesday afternoon, after a 7 hour drive, the last two hours in a steady rain.  I arrived just in time for supper, after which I set up my camper in the rain.  Wednesday night was a wash-out, so I watched a movie in the dining hall.

Thursday morning brought more rain; but by noon it had stopped and was clearing slightly.  One of the reasons I went to the star party, despite a poor weather forecast, was to take delivery on a 10Ē Astrosky Dobsonian from its builder, James Grigar of Lake Charles, Louisiana.  He arrived in the early afternoon, so we spent the remainder of the day putting it together and checking everything out.  By nightfall it had cleared enough to do a star test and to discover that this is going to be a ďNICEĒ scope.  This will be my vacation traveling scope.  The clouds finally opened up for an hour or so around 10:00, but closed in again to send me to bed by midnight.

Friday was clear all day long.  Rex from Astrostuff arrived in order to separate attendees from their hard-earned cash; I was able to resist the temptation.  Everyone was in a great mood, anticipating a beautiful clear night sky.  This was not to be; just at sunset a few clouds could be seen in the north.  By dark the sky was pretty much overcast.  A few hardy souls chased sucker-holes for a while until around 11:00 when things cleared pretty well.  The skies never reached their advertised potential; there was just too much humidity.  We had a little over three hours of good observing until it clouded over and sent me to bed.  Some said it cleared again around 4:00 and stayed clear until dawn.  I mainly observed show-case stuff, among them the Orion Nebula, which I had not seen since the spring.  Others said Saturn was very nice under steady skies just before dawn.

Saturday was clear until early afternoon, followed by clouds and then rain by 4:00.  Saturday night was movie night again as it rained all night. 

Overall it was pretty poor observing; out of four nights, we had maybe 5 hours of decent viewing.  However, the facilities were very nice, the observing field was 2-3 times larger than the old McComb site, and the food was very good.  And I got to meet a few new people and renew some old friendships.  But, best of all, I picked up a new scope; I guess everyone can blame me for the lousy weather.  Join me in November for the Chiefland Star Party.  Anyone want to go?


AAS Star Parties

On Saturday October 14, Everett Leonard with his Orion XT10 Intelliscope, and your editor with the old C-11 enjoyed several hours of cool clear skies at Cliff Hillís farm. 

The following Friday, Don and Kim Cluck with their TeleVue NP101,  joined me for another near perfect night under the stars.  Here's an image of the Copernicus region of the Moon that Don made with his digital camera attached to his TeleVue.


Space News

John Zachry reminds us to remember Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter science mission begins November 9 after Mars conjunction ends. 

In a NASA news conference on Tuesday, we all breathed a sigh of relief when we learned that  the Hubble Space Telescope escaped forced early retirement.  Whew!

On the Tube

Astro Physics will be featured on the Travel Channelís ďMade in AmericaĒ.  The program will air sometimes next spring.

Loaner Scopes

Let Loaner Scope steward, Rhon Jenkins, know if you (members only) would like to have your name added to the list to borrow either of the loaner telescopes. 

Hoping to see everyone at the meeting and the star party,